Start Your Journey Here

Immigrant Services Calgary offers many services to ensure families and individuals have the support needed to successfully begin a new chapter of their lives in Canada.

We can help you:

  • Learn about daily life in Canada
  • Prepare for the Calgary job market
  • Build a sense of belonging in Calgary
  • Assess your English language skills
  • Learn about government benefits and community resources

Build a plan

Immigrant Services is a partner in Gateway, helping connect immigrants with services across the community. If you aren’t sure where to start, connect with Gateway. When you book a free appointment, you’ll be connected with someone who will ask you about your goals and help you create a plan to get you there—helping you settle successfully into your new life in Alberta.

Choosing your new home is a big step. Calgary offers diverse people, activities, and options to build the life you’re seeking. We’re here to help you as you begin and adjust to your new life in Canada.

At Immigrant Services Calgary, we’re on a mission to connect newcomers to the right service at the right agency, every time. We offer many services—helping you and your family settle into your new home in Calgary.

A few facts about this city:

Calgary is the sunniest city in Canada, enjoying 333 days of sunshine per year. Even on cold days, the sun shines bright.

As the third most diverse major city in Canada, over 120 languages are spoken in Calgary.

With a median age of 37.2 years, Calgary’s citizens are young and bring their energy to their communities.

Welcome to Alberta App

This app offers newcomers a pre-made to-do list, an overview of Canada and Alberta, links to resources, and other important information.

Calgary Handbook for Newcomers

Welcome to Calgary, Alberta! Arriving in a new country and community is an exciting time. The “Welcome to Calgary” Handbook was created to help you overcome the challenges of moving to another country while welcoming you with available resources to enjoy this new chapter in your life.

Legal Advice Clinics

Offered in partnership with Calgary Legal Guidance, these clinics connect low-income permanent residents and refugees with free legal advice and services from highly qualified, professional volunteer lawyers. These monthly clinics are free and offer personal consultation services on family and immigration issues.

How to book an appointment at the Legal Clinic

  1. Book a meeting with your Gateway Newcomer Planner by calling 403-265-1120, email us, or book a meeting online.
  2. When meeting with your Planner, book a time slot with a volunteer lawyer. If you need free interpretation services for your meeting with the lawyer, you can ask your Planner to book that at the same time.
  3. Once registered, you will be assigned a 30-minute time with the free, professional lawyer. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment and note that you will be asked to complete an evaluation form after your session.

Please note: Legal services are currently being conducted over the phone rather than in person due to the pandemic.

Immigrant Services Calgary offers many programs and services through our Calgary Language Assessment and Referral Centre to help you assess English language skills, see where you can improve, and set you on a path for success.

If you have questions about any of the below programs or services, please contact the Calgary Language Assessment and Referral Centre at 403-262-2656.

English Testing

Immigrant Services Calgary provides free language assessment and referral services to permanent residents, Convention Refugees, and naturalized Canadian citizens living in Calgary, Brooks, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and surrounding areas. After your test, you will be referred to appropriate English language programs such as Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) or English as an Additional Language (EAL). LINC programs are free for those who qualify.

Register for your free language test today
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Education Counselling

After completing a language assessment, this professional, one-on-one education planning session can help you plan your academic, upgrading, and education goals, and path to achieve them.

In your session, you will discuss your future educational goals with your counsellor, who will refer you to the right programs and services. They will also share information about financial resources in the community that can support your plans.

Based on your goals, you may also receive information on:

  • High school upgrading programs
  • Academic and technical upgrading
  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Accreditation procedures

To learn more or register, please email the Calgary Language Assessment and Referral Centre or call 403-262-2656.

We also offer monthly group information sessions on related topics. Visit our workshops page to register for an upcoming session

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English as an Additional Language Program Directory

Immigrant Services Calgary compiles information to provide a general guide of EAL (English as an Additional Language) programs and services. This is not a full or endorsed list of programs and services available in Calgary; it is meant to help as a general guide to find accredited services near you.

If you represent an accredited educational institution or non-profit organization and would like to have your programs added to the Directory, please contact our team.

Access the program directory

Commissioned by: Language Training Programs, Alberta Labour and Immigration

Free Language Resources

Here are some helpful materials for beginner, intermediate, and advanced English learners.

Beginner Level

ESL Literary Readers through Bow Valley College

Access 40 theme-based readers for adult ESL learners. Click on a level and choose an audio or PDF book from the available library.

ESL from ISS of BC

Learn new words, phrases, and every day activities through examples and practice on this website.

English Vocabulary by Language Guide

Learn and practice English words on this website. Click on images and words to hear them pronounced, then practice and complete challenges.

Games to Learn English

Great for all ages, these games can help kids and adults learn new words and phrases, practice, and have fun with English

Intermediate Level

Mauril Language Learning from CBC and Radio-Canada

The Mauril app and website offer English and French language learning resources from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio-Canada. Practice your skills and test your knowledge with language challenges.

BBC Learning English

Learn through exercises, articles, grammar practice, and more from the British Broadcasting Corporation. This website also includes video, audio, and written stories for children, so your family can join in too.

Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab

With lots of recordings, this site offers many scenarios to practice listening and understanding.

All Levels

Rosetta Stone through the Calgary Public Library

Improve your English skills with this interactive program. The app is available for free through the Calgary Public Library – Digital Library, with a free library card.

English Listening Lesson Library Online

This website has over 3,000 free listening lessons for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level students. You can listen to a recording or watch a video, then do grammar and reading comprehension exercises.

We are committed to helping immigrants and refugees find work to support themselves and their families. Immigrant Services Calgary provides programs that can help you find employment, offering employment skills training, job search support, and connections to potential employers. Individual sessions and workshops are available in English and other languages upon request. Many of our services are available online and in person, allowing you flexibility and safety.

Employment Bridging Services

Through this one-on-one service, our employment team works with you to identify your needs, assess your skill set, establish your goals, explore careers, and develop your personalized career plan. We connect you with established professionals and prospective employers through virtual and in person networking events, hiring and career fairs, mock interviews, and workshops. You can also access our job board to help you find your next career.

You will learn about:
  • Labour market in Calgary and Alberta
  • Canadian workplace culture
  • Effective job search strategies
  • Professional certification and foreign credential recognition
  • Educational upgrading
  • Resume building

Employment Bridging Services are available for those with Permanent Resident or Convention Refugee immigration status, and with Canadian Language Benchmark level 5 or above.

To learn more or register, please email Employment Bridging Services or call 403-538-8348.

We also offer monthly group information sessions on related topics. Visit our workshops page to register for an upcoming session

Education Counselling

Through our education sessions, we can help you determine your academic, upgrading, and career goals.

Community Job Board

Local agencies and organizations are often looking for great people. Take a look and see if your next career is available.

Empowering Employers for the Future of Work (EEFW)

Empowering Employers for the Future of Work (EEFW) is a national research project in which we collaborate with tech employers to identify the soft skills that staff need for success, job satisfaction, and productivity. As employment retention becomes a growing issue in the new era of work, it has become essential for organizations to gain a competitive edge by developing the soft skills of their teams. We can help. Learn more about how you can get involved today.

Employment Tips for Working in Alberta

To help you prepare for a job in Alberta, we’ve developed videos to help explain and demonstrate useful workplace tips to support newcomers. These videos can help explain workplace culture in Alberta, career support services and their benefits for immigrants, and your rights when working in Alberta.

Each of the below videos is also available with subtitles in Arabic, Chinese, Tigrinya, French, Spanish, and Hindi. Visit our SmartTips YouTube channel to access these language options.

When families move to their new home in Calgary, different family members may want to access different programs and activities to meet new people, make friends, and build their sense of belonging in their new community. Immigrant Services Calgary offers programs for kids, new parents, teens, and seniors, connecting families with the support they need.

Early Learning Across Cultures

Offered for children 3–5 years old and their families, this free program provides a safe place for parents and children to make new friends, learn about other cultures, and share their own cultural traditions. This program helps prepare children for kindergarten, improving their English language and literacy skills as they prepare to start school.

Children play and learn together through drama, music, storytelling, arts, crafts, and other social activities. Parents and caregivers participate in workshops, increase their knowledge about children’s physical, language, and social development, and access community resources. Families learn music, dance, art, language, and stories from other cultures and have opportunities to share their own cultural traditions with others.

This program is currently offered both online and in person.

To learn more or to register, email Early Learning Across Cultures or call 403-538-8345.

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Cross-Cultural Adaptation Program

This year-long program offers free, safe, and educational space to connect with other immigrants and refugees while learning new skills related to life in Canada. The program includes:

  • Supportive counselling, employment skills support, and referrals to other programs and supports
  • Life-skills classes, including support groups, computer classes, financial skills workshops, parenting workshops, and English conversation groups–and more

Immigrant or refugee women can also join Share and Learn, a support group helping women at risk of social isolation to heal and grow through weekly educational and recreational activities. It’s an opportunity to make new friends in a multicultural group, gain peer support and mentorship experience, and learn about community resources.

The program is open to naturalized citizens, permanent residents, Convention and Claimant Refugees, and those in Canada on a work permit.

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Healthy Start Calgary

Through this free program, those that are pregnant, parents, and caregivers with babies can meet with a dietitian and other health care professionals to learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices for themselves and their baby. You can also be referred to the Calgary Food Bank or other support services in Calgary, receive grocery gift cards, and infant essentials, like diapers, wipes, and vitamin D for your baby.

For people who are pregnant, classes are available Mondays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. online

For parents and caregivers with babies 0–12 months, classes are available Fridays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. online.

To learn more or to register, email Healthy Start Calgary or call 403-265-6093.

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Offered in partnership with:
 

Core Connections

This year-round program offers a fun space for youth who have recently arrived in Canada to meet other youth, engage with their community, build skills, and mentor and support one another. The Core Connections Program also helps youth explore Calgary, learn about Canadian culture and life in Canada, and gain volunteer experience and hours. The interactive program runs after school hours and on weekends, making it flexible to your schedule.

Youth can pick and choose how involved they want to be, and by joining Core Connections, youth can:

  • Make new friends through fun activities like games and sports
  • Get hands-on volunteer experience by helping at local charities and organizations
  • Explore local attractions, cultural festivals, and get to know their new city
  • Learn skills like writing a resume, money management, how to apply for scholarships, and more
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Peer Mentorship

After an initial meeting with program staff, you may be paired with a peer mentor for six weeks. This mentor will offer one-on-one support to newcomer youth, a friendly face, guidance as you settle into your new city, and advice for adjusting to life in Canada.

If you are a youth 16–20, have lived in Canada for over three years, and are interested in volunteering as a peer mentor, please contact our team.

Core Connections volunteers were vital in the launch of United Voices, a collaborative initiative to help strengthen mental health resiliency in youth. Learn more about the power of this work.

Community Initiatives for Immigrant Seniors Program

Designed to help senior immigrants and refugees adapt to life in Canada, this year-round program provides free life-skills classes, computer classes, fitness programs, and social activities for adults 55 and over. Through online and in-person activities, immigrant seniors can get to know Calgary, make friends, and lead an active lifestyle.

Social groups like conversation and reading clubs are also part of this program, allowing seniors a diverse array of activities to join and form social support networks. The program also offers first language supportive counselling, referring seniors to necessary community resources and services as needed.

To learn more or register, contact our team by emailing cisp@immigrantservicescalgary.ca

Register for the program today
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Applying for citizenship is a big step in your journey in your new home. Challenge yourself ahead of your citizenship test with our online, practice Canadian citizenship quiz.

You can apply for Canadian citizenship once meeting the physical residence requirements as a Permanent Resident: 3 years living in Canada in the past 5 years. Time spent as a temporary resident or protected person may be counted as half-days toward physical residence (up to one year).

Applicants 18–54 must pass a Canadian knowledge test—this is a sample quiz reflecting the types of questions you may see on that test. The only official study guide for the citizenship test is Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. Other tools, like this citizenship quiz, are not created by the Government of Canada, and are only available to practice your knowledge.

Citizenship Preparation Classes & Quiz

Join us at a free workshop to help you prepare to successfully take the Canadian Citizenship test. This three module class is led by qualified professionals that guide you through the Discover Canada study guide, covering Canada’s history, heritage, culture, geography, and government. You will also learn about your rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen.

You can also test your knowledge ahead of your official test with our citizenship quiz.

To learn more or register, please email Teresa or check out our upcoming events.

Citizenship Study Quiz

Once you start the quiz you will have 30 minutes to answer 20 questions.

Start Quiz

We offer workshops and events all year to connect newcomers and share important information to help you settle into your new community. Take a look at upcoming sessions and we hope to see you there!